Sazerac is Having a Ball With Their Latest Acquisition

We mean that very literally

Sazerac House
Buffalo Trace is getting an unexpected corporate sibling.

Sazerac is the parent company for a number of notable spirits — Van Winkle, Buffalo Trace and W.L. Weller are just a few of the corporate siblings under Sazerac’s umbrella. But it’s not all prestigious and limited-run whiskeys over there; Sazerac is also getting a foothold into the ready-to-drink (aka RTD) space, if the company’s latest acquisition is any indication. That acquisition? BuzzBallz.

You know, BuzzBallz. The pre-made cocktails sold in small spherical containers that answer the question, “What if Christmas ornaments could also get you drunk?” As VinePair’s Hannah Staab reports, BuzzBallz founder Merrilee Kick will remain as the company’s CEO after the deal closes.

“As a trailblazer in the ready-to-drink space, we have received many inquiries to acquire the company, however, Sazerac matched our innovative culture and spirit best,” Kick said in a statement. “They are a partner we can continue to grow with internationally, as well as expand our existing distribution footprint in the USA.”

As strange as Pappy Van Winkle and Tequila ‘Rita BuzzBallz being corporate siblings might be, it’s also not hard to see why Sazerac made this decision — the RTD space is growing, with one analysis predicting that the RTD market will exceed $21 billion in the U.S. alone by 2027.

The Great New Orleans Sazerac Mystery Lives on
Nobody is really sure who invented the most famous cocktail in the Big Easy, so how do you build a museum around it?

Dave Infante has more analysis of the deal at his eminently readable newsletter Fingers. “BuzzBallz is a bona-fide beast,” he writes. “In 14 years, it’s morphed from a dubious gimmick into a serious player thanks to its novel package, fun flavors, and the rising tide of RTDs more broadly.” Regulators still need to approve this deal — but the announcement is a powerful reminder of the RTD space’s growth in recent years.


Join America's Fastest Growing Spirits Newsletter THE SPILL. Unlock all the reviews, recipes and revelry — and get 15% off award-winning La Tierra de Acre Mezcal.